The brief interlude of unsupervised children roaming the house is over.
In the beginning, they were potatoes and unable to do anything but poop and cry, and oh! how they worked to perfect their few skills.
Then came the crawling/walking time and gates were closed, rooms were shut off, stairs were guarded, and all small objects were put away.
Recently, we've had a little plateau of development during which we could mostly trust that the established patterns would be followed, there was a lot of ritualization in their daily play and I could do things like stay upstairs for a few minutes while the kids roamed the house because I knew that Monito would be downstairs making a mess with the glass gems and Pequita would be studiously working on her three favorite puzzles.
That is all over. The recent sleep disruptions, shifts in nursing, and massive growth have heralded another new stage and I now cannot trust them at all. They are developing a true ability for subterfuge and sneaky behavior. They like to be read stories about naughty kids, dolls spend most of the day in time outs, and I find the kids hunkered down in cozy secret spots they've carved out in the bottom of a cupboard, created out of a pile of previously clean, folded laundry or covered a corner up with a blanket and made into a fort. I peek in expecting the usual excitement at my presence and get a hand waving in my face and a kid yelling, "No, Mom. Pivacy! Pivacy!" as they try to hide the real or perceived contraband from discovery.
The cookie jar has been breached enough times that it is on an upper shelf in the pantry.
Baby gates are back in regular use so we at least know what part of the house they are in. This morning I came downstairs to this sight.
Monito wanted to watch the Teletubbie DVD, and had found it and was reaching for the DVD player. He had already tried to use the dollhouse as a stool, and the sound of it tumbling over was what brought me downstairs. This is one reason we invested in a massive TV cabinet; I don't like to have a big black TV eye watching us all the time, but also to block it from young kids.
Moment later, I heard him running back and forth repeatedly from living room to kitchen. This always bodes poorly. I peeked in on him and found every single cloth rag in a pile on a mess he made. I cracked up, because he had spilled a tablespoon of milk.
I can invoke the drill sergeant, and I am teaching them to march behind me in line because it amuses me and they think it is fun. Next we'll start sounding off, but that will be another day.